The Coast Mountain Teachers’ Federation (CMTF) that represents teachers from Kitimat and Terrace has sent a letter to the Coast Mountains School District 82 board expressing concern over the impacts of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
In the Jan. 6 letter addressed to Margaret Warcup, board chair, the CMTF said that teachers were not given the opportunity to develop and implement enhanced COVID-19 plans and protocols as expected during the past week.
First announced by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry Dec. 29, schools across B.C. delayed a full return to class after the winter break until Jan. 10, except for children of essential workers and students requiring extra supports.
Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said the extra time prior to students completely returning would allow for schools to assess the impacts of the Omicron variant and put in new safety measures.
CMTF also claims in the letter that valuable time was used on services that had nothing to do with enhanced COVID-19 protocols, and said that the schedule set for today (Jan. 7) should be changed to accommodate activities such as restructuring the classroom, re-adjusting existing safety plans, new guidelines for visitors to schools and preparing materials for extended absences.
Janet Meyer, School District 82 superintendent, told Black Press Media that the schedule would remain as planned.
“Coast Mountain School District designed the schedule for the week of Jan. 4 based on safety, organizational well-being and in-service,” Meyer said.
“While I appreciate the concerns and I appreciate the CMTF sharing their concerns I do stand behind the schedule that was designed and implemented for this week.”
Meyer also said that the school district has finalized a plan regarding what she called “functional school closures” for online learning that will be sent to teachers today. That plan has not been made public.